HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Tuesday was the first day of the new school year in Hamden. The Board of Education had pushed the start of school back so they could work out some logistical issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But despite the delay, students and staff were thrilled to be back.
“I feel really well. Going back to school for the first time this year feels just amazing,” said seventh-grader Justin Elisea, fresh off his first day at Hamden Middle School.
“I get to be with my friends, I get to learn. A bunch more reasons. I get to socialize again instead of being isolated by myself,” said Justin.
“I knew he’d be safe,” Justin’s older brother, Juan, said. “I explained it to him, to keep to himself, always have his hand sanitizer, wash his hands.”
Hamden had pushed back the start of school to deal with staffing issues. Separately, two Adult Education teachers had tested positive for the virus last month.
Hamden Middle School Principal Michelle Coogan says students took the new social distancing measures and hybrid learning model in stride.
“They came in really excited, a little curious about what school would look like,” she said.
“You have stuff to do, you have people to talk to, you have new stuff to learn,” said eighth-grader Elgin Johnson outside school pickup, where everything was socially distanced and carefully coordinated.
“They’re very professional, they’re doing everything right,” said his grandfather, Henry.
“This is day one. It’s only going to get better,” said Coogan.
Officials say if any positive COVID cases arise within the school community, they will be treated according to CDC guidelines and on a case-by-case basis.